Top 10 Hostel Pet Peeves

 The word “hostel” is synonymous with partying and (for the slightly paranoid) a certain series of slasher movies. While Iuckily I can only relate my hostel experiences with the former, and have quite enjoyed my time in most hostels, it’s hard to be a backpacker without encountering at least one unfavorable situation at any given hostel.

From loud snorers to loud sex, here’s my top ten hostel pet peeves. Which ones are on your list?

1. People who snore loudly.
Maybe some people can’t help but snore loudly but it’s really frustrating when there’s that one guy who snores like a lawnmower and everyone else in the room is tossing and turning. As there are designated smoking sections in restaurants, they should also have a room for loud snorers.

2. Turning on the lights in the middle of the night.
This is the person who gets back to the hostel after a night out, and despite the room full of sleeping people, disrespectfully turns the room lights on, and spends the next 20 minutes noisily getting ready for bed, and effectively waking up everyone in the room. I know whenever I get back to my hostel room at the break of dawn, I usually use the light from my cell phone. Or sometimes I just blindly find my way around in the dark, and find myself with a few bruises in the morning. Better bruises than enemies, I’d say.

3. Thieves.
I find that when my stuff do get stolen, it’s never in the dorm room, but rather the kitchen or luggage rooms where I guess it’s more of a free for all. Also, when things do get stolen, it’s never anything expensive, but rather small items that tend to go by unnoticed. This one time I had my bag in the luggage room, and later when I went to check into my dorm room, I noticed that my shampoo disappeared, although my MacBook was still safely in the bag (not that I’m complaining!)

4. Wet laundry.
Rather than paying a few dollars for the dryer, a lot of travelers hang their wet clothes on the side of the bunk beds to air dry. I know I’ve done it a few times, especially in the east coast of Australia where it’s so sunny, it dries almost instantly anyway. What really annoys me is the people whose wet clothes take up the whole room. It’s very unfortunate if you’re the poor traveller who checked in last, and is stuck on the top bunk with wet underwear dangling next to your face.

5. People singing in a foreign language.
People singing is generally a sign that they’re drunk. Singing in English is ok since it’s an universal language, and if everyone else is equally drunk, it usually leads to a fun mini musical rendition in the hostel room. Singing in a foreign language however, is a totally different story. This one time, there were these three Dutch girls who wouldn’t stop singing, and pretty much forced everyone else out of the room due to annoyance. They were also guilty of committing pretty much every crime on this list, to the point where I ended up going down to reception to complain (and I almost never complain about anything). The receptionist guy pretty much just told me that they’re unattractive and overweight so I shouldn’t let them get to me, which didn’t really help solve anything (needless to say, none of them partook in number 6, which is pretty relieving).

6. Loud sex.
If one really must have sex in the hostel, there are way better places to do it than on the bunk beds in a room of 10 people. Or in situations where for some reason it’s absolutely necessary to have sex in a room with 10 people, it’s not ok to make excessive noises in the middle of the night. C’mon now, we’re not shooting a porno, there’s no need to impress.

7. Wet washroom floors.
This is the worst when there’s a washroom attached to the room because sometimes the water starts to seep into the room and well…I don’t think I really need to describe that in detail. I recommend everyone to always bring a pair of flip flops when backpacking, and to never set foot in a communal washroom without it. If you go barefoot, I’m sure you’ll get some incurable disease where the only solution is to chop off your feet (highly probable if you’re travelling in a developing country).

8. Annoying drunks.
This is the group that barges into your hostel room and proceeds to flirt with you despite the fact that you show as much interest in them as an outdated travel guide from 1756 (completely useless, no transit maps).

9. Early sleepers.
Yea, I know some people can be jet lagged, or have to work early the next day, but it seems inconsiderate when people go to sleep at 9pm and proceed to shut off all the lights. I guess this is the opposite of pet peeve #2, but it can be equally annoying if you’re changing to go out, and only when you’re at the bar do you realize that you’re wearing different colour socks and that alarmingly, you kind of resemble Lady Gaga.

10. Super sensitive room cards.
You know the ones that you swipe to open up the room? There’s this one hostel I stayed at where the card deactivated itself every 10 minutes, forcing you to go down to reception to have it reset. Every time I went down to reception, there would be a long line of people wanting to reactivate their cards. Sometimes, the elevator up to the room takes longer than 10 minutes, which promptly deactivated your card even before you reach your room. This can lead to an endless limbo…



  1. September 16, 2011 / 3:01 am

    Ewww, how is loud sex not number one. So gross. I have to say, I never stayed in a hostel. Even after college when I traveled to Europe. I stayed in hotels. Cheap hotels, but still my own room. Don't think I could do it. Haha. But I guess there are ups, I bet it is really fun at times!

  2. September 16, 2011 / 10:12 am


    I listed them, but didn't really rank them or else it would definitely be up there! Some hostels I've stayed at look like budget hotels…just have to find the right ones 🙂

  3. September 16, 2011 / 7:36 pm

    I would have to say I agree with you on all points!

  4. September 19, 2011 / 1:53 am

    Helloooo yes! Being an avid traveller I now take the more expensive route and get a room of my own or with people I know! Or I find somewhere safe in the open and crash there – I usually find hostels have that foul smell when you enter – after a minute or so you've gotten used to it so don't smell it anymore – but it's definately there!
    Tikkitiboo + Ahka Vintage

  5. September 21, 2011 / 1:34 am

    My #1 is communal bathrooms. Seriously, people have the weirdest "cleaning" habits and leave unidentifiable objects around in the bathrooms. I always get rooms with private bathrooms.

  6. September 21, 2011 / 10:59 am

    I've never traveled before (although I always wanted to do the backpacking through Europe thing) so I have never spent a night in a hostel. But I am very curious as to what the experience would be like, pet peeves and all!


  7. September 22, 2011 / 3:09 am

    After staying in countless hostels, I completely agree with ALL of these pet peeves. Especially about the thieves part. Jerkwads.

  8. September 28, 2011 / 7:29 am

    HHHMMMmmm… you make it sound so appealing!! Now I know why I've never stayed in a hostel – although some would say caravan parks are just as bad!!

  9. September 29, 2011 / 12:42 am

    Ross – glad you agree!

    Tikkitiboo – yea, especially hostel kitchens!

    Nomadic bark – I dont think I'd ever want to know what these objects are, haha

    Shane – you definitely should. It'll change your life….it definitely changed mine!

    Miss sassy pants – agreed!

    Red – haha I complaint, but I do have a fond liking for hostels…

  10. October 3, 2011 / 2:21 am

    Ew to loud sex. I can't beleive people do that. Thats what the bathrooms are for 😛

    • Dawg43
      February 24, 2017 / 2:02 am

      Yeah but bathrooms echo and are dirtier than the beds sometimes… hahaha plus what position – you’re limited to girl on top whilst guy sits on toilet (not quiet if the seat is loose) and taking the girl from behind, with few exceptions… I guess it’s not that bad, haha! Just for being quiet, though…

  11. October 10, 2011 / 3:32 am

    This was a humorous read. Unfortunately, I've experienced every single one of the things you've listed.

  12. Dawg43
    February 24, 2017 / 2:10 am

    Hold on, I have to add: People who take but don’t give (in general).
    People who get weird with you for waking them up or some other thing you don’t remember doing. But don’t tell you WHY (paranoia inducing, in other words).
    Even when you were pretty sober and very careful sneaking around in the dark and brushing teeth in the external bathroom etc. Some people just need someone to pick on, and can’t communicate. Avoid them.
    The coolest people are the ones that share food. The uncoolest are the ones who play the victim to get free stuff. Some of us know what it’s like to be unwilling victims of serious things in life, and that shit isn’t cool. Kind people in general.
    People who use all the hot water – hold on, unless they’re standing in the shower for a full half hour, it’s not their fault, it’s the shitty hostel’s for not providing proper hot water facilities. Unless the place is charging 5 euros per night in a Western European country and needs to economise, the fault is with the management, not the other guest. The ONE thing hostels need is hot water. Apart from beds that actually WORK and aren’t squeaky as hell with paper-thin mattresses. Sometimes it’s easier to sleep on the damned GROUND. Oh and locals who know where to get good drugs, but won’t share even if you have money and are happy to share (unfriendly people in general, then). It’s hard to be in that position when abroad…

  13. Dawg43
    February 24, 2017 / 2:14 am

    Oh and people who breach the hostel’s security, when it’s bad enough sleeping in a dorm with others and relaxing that no-one’s going to sexually-abuse / steal etc. Which generally doesn’t happen… but idiots who don’t keep the door LOCKED and such, are annoying. Especially in the big city.

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